Summary and Indictable Offences

In Canada, criminal offences are categorized as summary offences, indictable offences, or hybrid offences. One important difference is that summary offences are less serious than indictable ones. Individuals who are facing criminal charges in Canada need to understand how summary offences differ from indictable offences.

Understanding the differences between summary and indictable offences can help accused individuals develop strong case strategies. The facts and evidence related to the case may influence whether the Crown chooses to charge an offence as either a summary or indictable offence. These decisions can have a profound influence on whether an accused faces a trial before a judge or a trial before a jury. Also, whether an accused is charged with a summary or an indictable offence can influence the sentencing phase of your criminal trial.

Knowing the differences between summary and indictable offences can help accused individuals decide how best to proceed with seeking legal representation. Understanding your rights will help you decide on how best to develop a strong defence that can help you protect your liberty.

Summary Offences

Section 787 of the Criminal Code concerns summary offences. The maximum punishment that an individual convicted of a summary offence may receive is a $5,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to two years less a day. Courts may also impose terms of community service or a suspended sentence. Also, individuals convicted of summary offences may be required to pay compensation for damages.

Provincial courts oversee trials for summary offences. Police officers may not take an individual’s fingerprints if they are charged with a summary offence. Those who are convicted of a summary offence will have a permanent criminal record. However, convicted individuals can petition to have their records cleared after a specific period of time following the completion of the imposed sentence.

The following offences are listed as summary offences under the Canadian Criminal Code:

  • Breach of Non-Publication in Jury Trial
  • Public Nudity
  • Soliciting Prostitution
  • Disturbances in A Public Place
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Trespassing at Night

In some cases, you may not have to appear in court if you have a lawyer and are charged with a summary offence. However, a judge may still order you to appear in some specific cases. In some cases, the accused may not have to make any court appearances whatsoever. Sometimes, these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, according to the judge.

Indictable Offences

Indictable offences are more serious than summary offences, and individuals convicted of indictable offences will face more severe sanctions and penalties. The penalty will depend on the specific indictable offence committed by the defendant. Murder, sexual assault, breaking and entering, and theft over $5,000 are indictable offences.

Indictable offences can be decided by either a judge or a jury, but some specific indictable offences can only be decided by a jury. Police officers can also take an accused’s fingerprints if they are charged with an indictable offence. Indictable convictions remain on the accused’s criminal record permanently.

Indictable offences may be punished by a term of imprisonment ranging from two years to life in prison. Sentences longer than two years must be served in federal prison.

Hybrid Offences

The majority of criminal offences under Canadian law can be charged as either a summary offence or an indictable offence. The Crown makes the decision whether to charge an individual with a summary or indictable offence. If the accused individual has an extensive criminal history, the Crown may elect to charge the offence as an indictable offence. However, if the accused has no criminal history and public interest will not be harmed, the Crown may elect to charge the accused with an indictable offence.

Sexual assault is a hybrid offence under Canadian law. The Crown will examine the nature and gravity of the sexual act before electing to charge the accused with a summary or indictable offence. The following are common hybrid offences in Canada:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Sexual Assault
  • Assault with a Weapon
  • Assault
  • Impaired Driving

No statute of limitations exists for hybrid offences or indictable offences.

Punishments for Summary and Indictable Offences

The maximum punishment that an individual convicted of a summary offence may receive is a $5,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to two years less a day. Courts may also impose terms of community service or a suspended sentence. Also, individuals convicted of summary offences may be required to pay compensation for damages.

Indictable offences may be punished by a term of imprisonment ranging from two years to life in prison. Sentences longer than two years must be served in federal prison.

Specific cases may feature a range of possible sanctions and penalties. Speaking with an experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you determine what to expect as your case proceeds to trial. No two criminal cases are exactly alike. Specific facts that only relate to your case will often be an important factor in sentencing decisions.

Modes of Trial in Summary and Indictable Offences

Provincial courts oversee trials for summary offences. Indictable offences can be decided by a judge or a jury, although specific indictable offences can only be decided by a jury. It is important to understand that the Crown can elect to charge many offences as either summary or indictable offences. A criminal lawyer can help you prepare for every aspect of your criminal case.


Facing criminal charges can be stressful and intimidating. Retaining an experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you protect your rights.

Vilkhov Law values its clients, and we work hard to achieve their goals. Contact us today at (416) 807-4477 to schedule a free consultation. Reach out today to learn how we can help you with your criminal case.

By |2023-08-11T10:32:55+00:00December 20th, 2022|Criminal Defence|

5/5 - (1 vote)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent5.0 Based on 120 reviews fromBrandon ABrandon A ★★★★★ Igor was fantastic to work with. He was always very quick to respond and answered any questions I had at any time during the process. I'm so impressed for his amazing and efficient work - he was able to have any charges against me dropped. I highly recommend Igor to anybody that's currently facing legal trouble. He truly exceeded my expectations and I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you Igor!Anoop RAnoop R ★★★★★ One of the best law firms in town! Highly recommended.ARRARR ★★★★★ I was falsely accused and charged with a serious offence. All it took was just one phone call from the complainant. As an immigrant, it was a nightmare. Fortunately Igor was the first person whom I contacted and I knew he was the one and I retained him. Beware of the lawyers who try to scare you, make you feel insecure. From the first phone call, he never made me feel insecure. He was confident that he can get the work done. Igor and Daniel promptly attended all my court dates. It took a while to achieve the resolution and finally my case was unconditionally withdrawn. I can't thank him enough. As Igor is a busy person, I was getting updates regularly from Daniel. I would give six stars to Daniel. Igor should never let him go. I would definitely recommend this law firm. You might sometimes feel that Igor is late in responding, but he'll be putting all his efforts behind the scene. Just have faith in him. I wish Igor and Daniel all the best.Maria AgasMaria Agas ★★★★★ I was very impressed with his professionalism, swift responses and attention to detail. He was proactive and always communicated next steps. I’m so happy we came across Igor and his team. Igor is amazing and wonderful lawyer.Cindy LiCindy Li ★★★★★ I cannot express my gratitude enough for the exceptional legal representation provided by Igor. Facing wrongful accusations was a harrowing experience, but Igor's expertise and dedication swiftly turned the tide in my favor. He navigated the complexities of the case with professionalism, demonstrating remarkable intelligence and a deep understanding of the legal system. Thanks to his efforts, the charges were withdrawn in a timely manner, allowing me to move forward with my life. Igor is not just a good lawyer; he is an outstanding advocate for his clients. I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of top-notch legal assistance.George ArellanoGeorge Arellano ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov got my charges withdrawn today after a very stressful time in my life. I hired him because of his reviews and I am not surprised that I got this result. I appreciate him and his team. Igor literally dedicates his entire life for his clients.Latch RamoutarLatch Ramoutar ★★★★★ I am sitting here at 10 Armoury street after my charges were just withdrawn. I cannot thank Igor enough for what he has done for me. This was supposed to be a trial where I was facing a ten year jail sentence. Somehow Igor got my charges dropped. This man is the lawyer you need, hands down. Also a very nice person.Emad MEmad M ★★★★★ Do not blink! Go with him.I know for stressful this process might be an how awful law system might be treating you, also how difficult it might be to trust someone with your “life”.Igor knows what he is doing and he saved my partner and I from false accusations of a jealous individual!He didn’t over charge, he didn’t hold back on any help a lawyer could possibly provide.This man is the best saviour one can ask for in these situations.Christa DuchenoChrista Ducheno ★★★★★ No kidding, if you need an attorney and You want the Best lawyer to defend you and your rights in the legal system I’d definitely recommend you call Igor Vilkhov.I am completely and gratefully satisfied with His professional guidance, knowledge of the complex legal system and most of all for saving my life. I give Igor and his Team my hands heart shout out Thank You for your dedication, I couldn’t have gotten through it without Y’all.Stephanie SchembriStephanie Schembri ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov thank you for keeping our family together we are forever gratefulAndreyAndrey ★★★★★ Highly recommend. Fast and reasonableRajveer SinghRajveer Singh ★★★★★ WaheguruAlyssa TolentinoAlyssa Tolentino ★★★★★ Igor is an incredibly professional, yet empathetic lawyer — I retained his services for charges laid against someone close to me, and would make that decision time and time again! He pays attention to every detail, and will be by your side to get the best outcome possible. You’re in good hands with him.Kathryn GilfoyKathryn Gilfoy ★★★★★ john la magnajohn la magna ★★★★★ I had a great experience with Vilkhov Law. Igor was professional, efficient, and made my very stressful first endeavour into needing legal council as much of a breeze as it could have been.He was also very patient with me as a first time offender with way too many questions.I highly recommended Igor, and his team at Vilkhov Law!Norbert WysockiNorbert Wysocki ★★★★★ Igor and his team provided excellent service in very delicate and emotional case. They were extremely supporting and knowledgeable. Thank you for everything you have done!Jason WorthJason Worth ★★★★★ Words cannot describe what Igor has done for me. Igor is the most skilled and amazing attorney I have ever met in my entire life. I had a long list of charges (some that carried some serious penitentiary time) and worked some serious magic with countless hours behind the scenes for me to make just 1 appearance and have ALL THE CHARGES WITHDRAWN and a peace bond put in place. The timeframe for it was amazing as well he took care of me and this situation in only 15 months! (we all know the justice system does not work that fast normally!) If you want a very highly skilled, passionate, available(Igor would take calls and messages even after normal hours to fill me in!), experienced and dedicated attorney that will work tirelssly with you and for you to get you the absolute best results then Igor is your man! 5 stars does not do this man justice he deserves 100 stars!N -N - ★★★★★ Great lawyer. Knowledgeable and helpful. 10/10 would recommend :)GLORIS SPENCEGLORIS SPENCE ★★★★★ Working with Igor and his team during a very unpleasant situation has been a blessing. Even though the legal process was a lengthy one, they were there to answer the questions and concerns we had.Thankfully, it's all over and settled and hopefully we'll not need his services again, but it is reassuring to know that if the situation should every arise where legal counsel is needed, Vilkhov Law Professional will be there in my corner.Thank you.Scott K.Scott K. ★★★★★ I would like to give Igor 5 stars for handling my serious case for the last 11 months of my life. In December 2022, I was wrongfully accused of 2 serious charges under my name however, Igor took care of it from the beginning and finally all of those wrongful charges are withdrawn and now I feel much better and at ease. I am very glad that Igor could help me throughout the hard process and bring out the best result possible! Also, what I want to pinpoint out for the most is that he picks up the call by himself and you get to contact directly with him whenever you have questions or want updates throughout the process. I know that it could be tiring for lawyers who have other clients at the moment but Igor always keep a close contact with his client and I was always able to talk to him directly when I needed for the last 11 months. At last, I wish all the best for Igor and hope that god blesses throughout his career and may he be able to offer his professionalism to help other people in need. Thank you Igor :)SAID ALISAID ALI ★★★★★ Igor is an exceptional lawyer! I am very thankful for his excellent professional legal advice and assistance, he was able to drop my S.A charges. Thank you Igor for everything you've done, I really appreciate your services.M AlyM Aly ★★★★★ I was charged with SA, which rarely ever get dropped and generally always go to trial. Igor Vilkhov was able to get my charges fully withdrawn with no consequences or harm to me.Every lawyer I spoke with quoted me astronomical fees and explained how they would have to jump through hoops and perform ‘legal gymnastics’ to help me. Igor was the only lawyer who gave me a fair and realistic fee structure. He walked me through what the process would look like and gave realistic expectations. It was clear from the start he knew what he was doing and that his experience was significant. Throughout the process he provided regular updates and was always reachable. If you’re charged, I highly recommend at least speaking with Igor before making a decision on an attorney.Melissa HinrichsenMelissa Hinrichsen ★★★★★ Igor was amazing to deal with. His response time was amazing compared to others. He knew what I needed and got the job done. I highly recommend to everyone.NicoleNicole ★★★★★ Very kind and helpfulDevere SDevere S ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov is a professional and very good lawyer, goes through everyrhing to make sure it gets dealt with properly, He replies fast if you have questions or anything as well, along with his staff Jessica she was a big help as well.js_loader


“Caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable.”

Contact Igor for a Free Consultation!

Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Go to Top